COLORADO SPRINGS — One million pounds is a lot, especially when we’re talking about trash. That’s how much garbage the Neighborhood Services’ Quality of Life Team cleaned up around Colorado Springs last year. The small but mighty group of nine is always hard at work keeping our public areas clean.
“I grew up in the city of Colorado Springs and I love cleaning the city and taking care of the city,” said Garry Moore. Moore is a Senior Maintenance Tech with Neighborhood Services in Colorado Springs. He’s one of the members of the Quality of Life Team.
“We look over what citizen complaints have came in. We also look at the homeless outreach teams, the HOT team’s officers’ requests,” said Pedro Laumbach. Laumbach is a Senior Maintenance Tech with Colorado Springs Neighborhood Services and part of the Quality of Life Team.
The group does everything from disposing of illegally dumped mattresses and furniture to removing graffiti, to cleaning mounds of trash from illegal homeless camps. Team members say homeless camps have grown to be a big focus.
“In 2019, we cleaned over 847 camps. So far this year in January we’ve cleaned over 174 with over 400 truckloads,” said Laumbach.
Laumbach adds that in 2019, the group picked up around 1600 truckloads of trash. He says there are a lot of hazards that come with this work.
“In reality, someone has been living there so there’s the potential for needles, drugs, paraphernalia. We just are always on guard. We’re always looking out for each other and we’re always careful where we put our hands,” said Laumbach.
Before cleaning begins, police give written warnings to the people living in an illegal homeless camp. If they won’t leave after warnings, police will make them leave and offer to take them to a homeless shelter.
The team works closely with the Homeless Outreach Team, HOT, and the Continuum of Care to connect these individuals with local services. At the end of the day, the Quality of Life team says they take pride in cleaning up the city.
“Everybody needs to take care of the city, not just one person, but it takes a village. It takes everybody to get out there and do it. Something as simple as picking up trash you see around town is a big help,” said Moore.
“We’re going to come in tomorrow and it might be the exact same location that’s dirty all over again, but we’re ready to do it. It’s just so rewarding knowing we’re cleaning and we’re trying to make a difference,” said Laumbach.
If you see a homeless camp around Colorado Springs you want the Quality of Life team to clean up, you can report it to the city on the GoCOS app. You can also report graffiti or illegally dumped furniture you see around town.